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Oils or Acrylics?

When I first studied painting I learnt how to paint with oils. I found them really easy to work with, took to them straight away. But after a few years, I got sick of the smell of turps and of the paints, how difficult they were to clean up. So I started using acrylics which are water based, have no smell, are very easy to clean up with water only.

Problem was, I had no idea how to use these acrylic paints so it took a lot of practise and patience to get the hang of them. No more smooth blending of colours now. I had to learn how to layer colours over each other and use different mediums to give the effect of blending. I felt like I was at the base of a huge mountain and had no idea how to get to the top.

I did produce some nice paintings, but I really felt as if I had lost my mojo. Nothing really flowed and it was a struggle to get paintings to look the way I wanted them to. But still I persevered for years.

At this time I was bringing up a small family and getting used to be married after remaining single till the age of 40. So really, I didn't have much time for focusing on my art. But I did a painting here and there, whenever I had the chance.

More recently, my children have turned into teenagers who are a lot more independent. So Im finding a little more time to dedicate to my painting. However, I ran out of acrylics the other day and thought I would take a peek into the old musician's case that I keep my oil paints in. I hadn't looked in there for quite some time, so brushing the dust off, eI searched around and low and behold, there they were, a few large tubes of oils in differing colours, including white, which is very important. (for me, anyway).

So I opened up the tubes, searched around for some turps and then started painting.

"Oh, where have you been all this time?" I thought. Instantly I felt at home again and immediately made some organic shapes on the canvas. Then filled them in with a bit of blending here and a bit of scumbling there. What fun! Why did I ignore my oils for so long? What insanity had overtaken me to follow the path of acrylics??

I was now in my element and continued to produce more works in a new style and with a new energy, focus and creative expression than I have had in years.

I have now found some great odourless mediums and solvents and have admitted to myself that I can handle a little more mess, slime and difficulty cleaning up in order to fulfill my creative destiny. Because oils is where it lays and I feel I have tons more magnificent works of art just busting to get out onto that canvas. Im loving the fluidity of the paints and the sheer joy of playing with colours on the canvas!

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